• Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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Companies must adopt SDG practices to be sustainable, says UN

Companies must adopt SDG practices to be sustainable, says UN

Naomi Nwokolo, executive director at United Nation Global Compact Network Nigeria, has said companies in Africa must collectively adopt Sustainable Development Goals-aligned practices in order to achieve maximum impact and scale.

Speaking at the 2023 Sustainable Futures Africa forum on Wednesday, she said, “Globally, there is an average annual funding shortfall of $2.5 trillion between public and private investments in sectors related to the SDGs in developing countries (UN Sustainable Development Group).”

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She added that businesses in the continent are making huge contributions to society, but few are fully engaged in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues.

“To achieve maximum impact and scale, companies must collectively adopt SDG-aligned practices to meet social and governance expectations in society.”

The event which was themed ‘ESG Advantage: Shaping Profitable and Purposeful Paths for Sustainable Development in Nigerian Businesses’ was hosted by Hudson Sandler in collaboration with the UN Global Compact Nigeria.

It brought together industry leaders, experts, and stakeholders to explore and discuss the ESG aspects of sustainable development in Nigerian businesses.

The panel discussion covered critical topics such as establishing a credible ESG profile, stakeholder expectations, organisational benefits of sustainability integration, ESG investing, and best practices in sustainability communications.

Speakers emphasised the necessity of transparent reporting, stakeholder engagement, and ethical leadership to drive sustainable growth.

Rabiu Olowo, executive secretary and chief executive officer of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, who was represented by Iheanyi Anyahara, the agency’s director, said it is important to align corporate governance with the tenets of sustainability.

“The role of the Financial Reporting Council is pivotal, not just as a regulatory body but as a catalyst for instilling utmost confidence in investors and upholding the highest standards in accounting, auditing, and corporate governance,” he added.

According to Olowo, the organisation’s goal is to ensure accountability, transparency, and adherence to ESG principles, contributing to a future where businesses thrive in harmony with societal and environmental needs—ultimately fostering sustainable economic growth for Nigeria.

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Rebecca Gudgeon, partner and head of Hudson Sandler’s Sustainability Practice noted that aligning business operations with ESG principles is essential for long-term viability, resilience, and market relevance.

“Investors increasingly consider ESG performance as a significant factor in investment decisions, impacting funding and growth opportunities. The diverse perspectives shared by our speakers underscore the urgency and importance of integrating ESG principles into corporate strategies.”